What Are Endnotes? | Guide with Examples
Endnotes are notes that appear at the end of your text in a piece of academic writing. They’re indicated in the text with numbers (or occasionally other symbols). Endnotes are used:
- For citations in certain styles
- To add extra information that doesn’t fit smoothly into the main text
Endnotes vs. footnotes
Endnotes are sometimes confused with footnotes. Footnotes are also used to provide citations and/or supplementary information, but they appear at the bottom of the relevant page instead of all together at the end.
- Clutter your writing less than footnotes, since they’re all grouped together instead of spread throughout the text
- Are less convenient, since the reader has to flip to the back to read the notes
- Are convenient, since the reader finds the additional information on the same page as the relevant part of the text
- Can make your text appear messy, especially if there are a lot of them
You should usually choose either footnotes or endnotes and use them consistently. Your instructor may tell you which style of note to use.
How to use endnotes
Endnote numbers appear at the end of the clause or sentence the endnote relates to. The number appears after any punctuation, unless the clause ends with an em dash, in which case it appears before it. There’s no space added after the number.
Endnotes are numbered consecutively in the order they appear in your text. Each note has a unique number; don’t repeat the same number even if you cite the same source more than once.
Endnotes in Chicago style
In Chicago notes and bibliography style, you use endnotes (or footnotes) for citations. Either kind of note can also be used to add extra information: further examples, commentary on the sources you cite, or more detailed discussion of ideas you mention in the text.
Place your Chicago endnotes at the end of the relevant clause or sentence. A citation endnote provides full information about a source the first time you cite it, and shortened information for any further citations of that source.
You should still include a full list of your sources in a bibliography after the endnotes, unless you’re writing a very short paper and have been told you don’t need to.
The endnotes page appears just before the bibliography and starts with the title “Notes” written in bold and centered. The notes themselves are formatted as follows:
- Leave a blank line between endnotes, and single-space the notes themselves.
- Indent the start of each endnote.
- Write the note numbers in normal text, not superscript, followed by a period and then a space.
Endnotes in APA Style
Either endnotes or footnotes may be used in APA Style to provide additional information. They’re not used for citation; for that you’ll use APA in-text citations instead.
APA endnotes are used to provide copyright attributions where necessary. They can also be used, for example, to elaborate on ideas in the text or provide further examples. Do this sparingly, however; APA cautions against adding unnecessary details.
Endnotes appear on a separate page after the reference list, with the heading “Footnotes” (confusingly, APA doesn’t use the term “endnotes”) in bold and centered at the top.
The notes are written as double-spaced indented paragraphs. Start each note with its number, in superscript and followed by a space.
Endnotes in MLA style
MLA in-text citations appear in parentheses in the text, but you can use endnotes to avoid cluttering the text if you need a lot of citations in one place.
MLA endnotes may also be used to provide additional information—any necessary clarifications, further examples, or expansions of ideas covered briefly in the text.
List your endnotes on a separate page before the Works Cited list, and title them either “Notes” or “Endnotes.” Indent the first line of each endnote, and start the note with the number in superscript followed by a space. Endnotes should be double-spaced.
How to insert endnotes in Word
It’s straightforward to insert endnotes automatically in many word processors, including Microsoft Word. Just follow these steps:
- Click on the point in the text where you want the endnote number to appear.
- Open the “References” tab at the top, and click on “Insert Endnote.”
- Type something in the endnote that appears at the end of your document.
But if you’re following one of the styles covered above, do adjust the formatting to match their requirements and add a heading for the endnotes page.
Frequently asked questions about footnotes and endnotes
- What’s the difference between footnotes and endnotes?
Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page they refer to. This is convenient for the reader but may cause your text to look cluttered if there are a lot of footnotes.
Endnotes appear all together at the end of the whole text. This may be less convenient for the reader but reduces clutter.
Both footnotes and endnotes are used in the same way: to cite sources or add extra information. You should usually choose one or the other to use in your text, not both.
- How do I insert endnotes in Word?
To insert endnotes in Microsoft Word, follow the steps below:
- Click on the spot in the text where you want the endnote to show up.
- In the “References” tab at the top, select “Insert Endnote.”
- Type whatever text you want into the endnote.
- How do I convert footnotes to endnotes (or vice versa) in Word?
If you need to change the type of notes used in a Word document from footnotes to endnotes, or the other way around, follow these steps:
- Open the “References” tab, and click the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the “Footnotes” section.
- In the pop-up window, click on “Convert…”
- Choose the option you need, and click “OK.”
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